I think I believe, at least on my worst days, a lot of what’s in this book review. But I do feel like places like this–this blog–are kind of those “zones of intelligence.” At least, this is how I thrive in a culture that doesn’t value me all that much.
So, I’ve been on a secret quest to find Allenwood, the Gallatin-ish home of Col. John Allen, father of Eliza Allen, cousin of Ben Allen’s dad and runaway bride of Samuel Houston. I wasn’t expecting to find a house since Sumner County does an excellent job of pointing you to who lived where when and taking care of their antebellum homes. At least, that’s how it seems from the outside.
So, I thought it would be simple enough. I’d just call up there and someone could tell me. No, they gave me directions to where Eliza Allen had lived in town. Which fine, but I was looking for Allenwood–three miles south of Gallatin on a bend in the river, 800 acres. I even found tax records for it, but the location just says “Cumberland River.”
Today I called up to the Sumner County Museum and the woman I talked to was apologetic and helpful. Apologetic because she didn’t think she was being helpful, but helpful because she was. She’s 77 and remembers an Allen living out by Lock 4 when she was a little girl. That wasn’t the helpful part. The helpful part is that she lives two and a half miles south of Gallatin on Route 109 and so she thought the only place the house could have been that would be only a smidge further out than her was off Peach Valley Road.
Now, I’m not wholly convinced that the Allen land couldn’t have also been right off of Odom Bend Road, but look what I found sitting at the corner of Peach Valley Road and Kirkpatrick:
And check out this view:
That certainly fits the description of a bend in the river. The other reason I suspect this is the spot and not Odom’s Bend is pretty obvious if you look on a terrain map. This is never going to flood. Odom’s Bend road is low and that land, though probably excellent for farming, is not where you’re going to stick a house.
But then the question becomes–is this house old enough to be Allenwood? You can’t tell from this picture, but it does have the two chimneys, one on each end, which usually indicates antebellum. I thought the small windows up top with the tall windows on the first floor was a little strange, but no, look at Rock Castle–same window set-up–or Craigfont–similar window set-up. So, that’s two other homes the same age Allenwood would be with the same window and chimney configuration. This house looks a little squatter than the other two, but I think that may be an optical illusion from the portico.
The only thing throwing a hitch in my giddy-up is that I looked it up on the county assessor’s and they’re saying the house was built in 1900. I’m looking for something built… you know… a hundred years before that.
So, I don’t know if I’ve found it or not. I guess I’m going to have to throw myself on the mercy of the archives to solve this mystery.